FUTURE SHOPPERS ARE COMMUNICATING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA TO SHARE SUPPORT, APPRECIATION, AND ALSO SUGGESTIONS VIA #MYHARTSWISHLIST
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It’s been one month since Hart’s Local Grocers announced its plans to open in downtown Rochester and the leadership team has described the positive feedback as “humbling, overwhelming, and exciting.” During the press announcement on Jan. 10, Hart’s announced the launch of a social-media campaign called #MyHartsWishList. Future shoppers were encouraged to share product and brand requests for the store, which is slated to open in late May, and hundreds have responded.
To date, the wish-list requests have ranged from signature local items to eclectic finds like “fun and interesting craft sodas.” Among the brands requested, those confirmed for Hart’s shelves and kitchen include Flour City Pasta, Forge Hot Sauce, Baker Street Bakery, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, Donna Marie’s Gluten Free Bakery, Three Square Kitchen farm collective, and coffee roasters Joe Bean, Java’s, and The Coffee Connection.
“The feedback on #MyHartsWishList and the store in general has been astounding,” said Andrew Katz, Hart’s communications director. “We want the community to feel this is their store, so we have been listening since day one and we are responding and exploring as many locally made products as possible, from bakeries to farms.”
The outpouring of positive feedback has included members of the Hart family and former Hart’s employees. Hart’s Local Grocers is named for a once-loved Rochester neighborhood market chain called Hart’s, which was owned by progressive businessman and philanthropist Alfred Hart. As a nod to the Hart’s legacy, beyond the name, the present-day store intends to reflect the feel of a 1940s-era full-service yet intimate food retailer. Hart’s leadership team plans to host a special pre-opening event for the family — including the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Alfred Hart who have reached out with appreciation — and former Hart’s employees. One gentleman has written and offered to bag groceries on opening day, for old-time’s sake.
Hart’s is also three weeks into a 12-week giveaway series on the store’s Facebook page. Each week, Hart’s highlights a new item that has been requested via #MyHartsWishList— one that the store has committed to carrying, as relationships with new brands and products continue to be forged. Facebook fans who comment on each post are entered to win a gift basket from that local brand.
To date, the Hart’s social-media fan base includes more than 1,000 Facebook “Likes,” more than 500 Twitter followers, and hundreds of subscribers to the store newsletter and Hart’s Rewards Card. Hart’s is encouraging future shoppers to sign up for its monthly newsletter, “The Spiffy-in-a-Jiffy from Hart’s Local Grocers.” This newsletter keeps shoppers up-to-date on the latest regarding the Hart’s story. In addition, subscribers will receive a Hart’s Rewards Card in advance of the store opening. The Hart’s team also has launched a blog, “The Wagon,” where weekly posts will feature photo and video tours of local farms related to Hart’s product lines, as well as spotlights on local food and in-depth profiles of the Hart’s team.
The Hart’s Story
Hart’s Local Grocers is a locally owned and independent full-service food retailer. The store will be located in the heart of the East End occupying 20,000-square-feet of the two-story brick building at 10 Winthrop St., located between the Little Theatre and Restaurant 2Vine. Hart’s will be the first grocery store to open downtown since the last one left Midtown Plaza more than a decade ago.
Hart’s mission is to build community, delight the senses, and connect Rochesterians to the region’s greatest foods. This traditional neighborhood market will offer city residents local and fresh meat, dairy, produce, and baked goods alongside national brands, while raising the retail standard of excellence through a socially and environmentally responsible food system. It is estimated area grocery stores locally source between 2 and 4 percent of products, whereas Hart’s will be well into double digits. Each department head will be charged with continually searching for local and regional options for products sold at Hart’s, including natural and organic product options.
The vision for Hart’s Local Grocers is that of Glenn Kellogg, an urban economic planner from Washington, D.C. Through his company Rochester Local Capital he drafted a business plan and gathered a team of industry and startup veterans from around the region and the country. They studied demographics, looking closely at city neighborhoods, identifying the best opportunities and locations, and finding out what residents are hungry for.
Hart’s soon will be renovating its new home at 10 Winthrop St., Rochester, a two-story brick building constructed in 1930. It most recently was the home of Craig Autometrics and previously served as the repair and body shop for nearby Hallman’s Chevrolet. Parking for Hart’s Local Grocers includes 130 onsite parking-lot spaces.
Hart’s is prepared to serve many city neighborhoods, including the Center City, Park and East Avenue neighborhoods, the Neighborhood of the Arts, and the South Wedge, in addition to shoppers who work in the city. More than 30 employees are being hired this winter and spring, reaching more than 50 new hires by 2015. Inquiries regarding positions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
High-res images of the logo, leadership team, and exterior of the building are online athttp://bit.ly/hartsmedia